Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Snow, Darkness, and Fire

I am in the midst of my final week at Twin Oaks.  Much of the last few days has been spent recovering from the events of last week.

Last Wednesday it snowed here.  I had been wondering if I'd see any snow while I was in Virginia.  Well, we got six inches.  In the Boston area, that wouldn't mean much.  But here there aren't sidewalks or even paved roads.  (At least not within Twin Oaks.)  Everything is dirt roads and paths.  So the experience was quite different from six inches in the city.  To make things worse, it was a wet snow that brought down a lot of power lines.  We were without power for four days.

At first it was fun.  The first night without power, I walked to the far end of Twin Oaks--a place they call Emerald City.  But unlike the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, the road there wasn't paved with yellow bricks.  That night the road was a muddy, slushy mess.

But the stars here are beautiful at night--and the stars and snow kept things from getting too dark.  Four days later, though, the charm was wearing off.  Fortunately, there is a nice woodstove in the visitor's cottage, so we kept warm at night.  And there were lots of candlelight dinners.  And even with all the inconveniences we were very lucky.

Acorn, the community that I stayed at last September and seven miles down the road from here, was not so lucky.  They got their power back much sooner.  However, when the power went out, someone ran into one building to rescue some baby chicks that were being kept warm by an electric heater and apparently moved the heater to the wrong place. When the power came back on it started a fire that turned into an inferno that destroyed the whole building.  Very fortunately, this wasn't a building anyone lived in and no one was hurt--but there was thousands of dollars of damage, including their communal clothes supply and there was at least one automobile nearby that the heat of the fire literally melted the bumper.

Last Saturday, I did what I'm calling a communal trifecta.  A small group of us went over to Acorn briefly (so I got to see the damage firsthand and talk with some of the folks there) before we went on to Living Energy Farm for a work day there.  By Saturday much of the snow had melted, but Living Energy Farm (most of which isn't built yet) was a mud pit.  I was able to help with putting up a fence for an orchard there, but I returned a muddy mess.  Still, it was good to see some of what's going on in the other communities around here.

This Friday, I'll be leaving Twin Oaks and going to stay with a couple of my cousins (and their large and loving family) who live near Richmond.  Then next Monday I'll be off to Pennsylvania, for my next community adventures.

Quote of the Day: "To enter the courtyard at Twin Oaks is--sooner or later--to come face-to-face with the profundity of the utopian question.  Although that same question is everywhere, including wherever you are now, it is perhaps clearer on this commune in Virginia only because in our time several hundred of our contemporaries have totally committed a portion of their lives to wrestling with it in the context of these four-hundred and eighty-three acres." - Ingrid Komar


Austan said...

You're like Odin the Wanderer. Honestly, these travels are pretty much what myths are made of.

MoonRaven said...

Thanks. I certainly feel like a wanderer but I think I'm sadly missing the wisdom of Odin. There are days when I think the myth I'm reenacting is Sisyphus.